Through the writing prophets the Lord continued to send prophets to his people, warning them of the judgment to come if they continued in their sin. “But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God” (2 Kgs 17:14).
These prophets prophesied of a coming day in which God would raise up the promised Davidic king. Though Uzziah, a relatively good Davidic king, sat on Judah’s throne during the time of Amos, God considered the Davidic booth fallen. The prophet looked forward to its restoration, and he tied the restoration of the Davidic booth with the restoration of Israel to the land and a return to Edenic conditions on earth (Amos 9:11-15).
The prophet Hosea predicted that God would put an end to the kings of Israel, and the people would realize that a king was no protection against enemies when their true problem was sin. But after a long time without a king Israel would return to seek God and his promised Davidic king (3:4-5). The Israelites begged for a king in 1 Samuel 8 so he could defeat their enemies and free them from the consequences of their sin. But in exile the people would be driven to admit, “and a king—what could he do for us?” (10:3).
Hosea also criticized Israel’s sacrificial worship. The Pentateuch presented sacrifices as a way for a sinful people to make atonement before God and have their sins forgiven. But these people had a problem that ran much deeper than specific sins. Their hearts were uncircumcised (Deut. 30:6), and as a result they did not love God (cf. Deut. 6:5). Through Hosea God says, “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burn offerings” (6:6). Since sacrifices failed to penetrate deeply enough to solve the Israelite’s true problem, the Lord refused their sacrifices (8:13).